Herbal Foot Soak
Author: Yvonne Lau (translated from “The Healthy Living Calendar” from the Beijing Guoyitang Organization)
With an herbal foot bath you’ll sleep better, and you can do it every day!
According to Chinese Medicine, winter is a great time to tonify the Kidney, so why not do it with a warm, soothing foot bath? It's not just a nice way to relax - by tonifying we also strengthen our immune system. The best time to soak your feet is around 9pm during Pericardium/Heart Protector time when we should start to really relax and let go of the day's troubles. Relaxing during the Pericardium time is not only what is in tune with nature, but also a great way to release anxiety and ensure a peaceful night's sleep. A good night's sleep replenishes our Qi and Blood and nourishes all of our organs, including the Kidneys.
Soaking with mineral salts helps to detoxify, relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Add about 1½ cups of mineral salts to warm water. Or, soak with these Chinese herbs for different therapeutic effects.
To dispel water bloat from weak Kidneys:
15 grams each of Hua Jiao (Zanthoxylum bungeanum fruit/Szechuan Peppercorns) and Rou Gui Pi (Cinnamomum cassia bark peel/Cinnamon). Soak daily until bloating dissipates.
To invigorate the Blood:
15 grams each Dan Shen (Salvia miltiorrhizae root) and/or Dang Gui(Angelica sinensis root).
To clear heat/lower fire:
15 grams each Lian Qiao(Forsythia suspensa fruit), Jin Yin Hua(Lonicera japonica flower), Ban Lan Gen(Isatis tinctorius, Isatis indigotica, or Baphicacanthus cusia root), and/or Ju Hua(Chrysanthemum morifolium flower).
Decoct the herbs for 15 minutes and pour the decoction into the foot soak (or pour powdered herbs directly into the warm water). Try to keep the water warm throughout, and soak for about 20 minutes. Don’t soak within an hour after a meal, and minimize post-soak activities. In fact, it’s best just to go to bed right after to optimize kidney tonification. During the winter months, this can be your daily go-to relaxation technique!
Holiday Gifts at Mayway
Author: Katie Stoyka, December 12, 2016
Too busy for shopping this year? Order for your practice AND your loved ones at Mayway! We've put a few gift ideas together to help simplify your shopping.
Bee & Flower Scented Soap
Choose from sandalwood, rose, jasmine ginseng or bouquet, each bar comes ready for giving, wrapped in colorful paper with 2 metallic seals and a folded “ribbon” describing the product. With 12 per box, these are so affordable that you could gift a bar to every patient! shop soaps
Mayway 2017 Calendar
Make your giving count: all proceeds from the sale of this calendar are donated Charlotte Maxwell Clinic, providing complementary integrative cancer care and safety net services free of charge to underserved women with cancer. Plus, your first calendar is FREE with an order of $50+. This year’s calendar features paintings from farmers and villagers showing scenes from daily life. shop calendar
Lapsang Souchong Smokey Black, Bai Mudan White Peony, Tender Tip Country Green…we have 8 organic-certified styles to sip, enjoy and share, as well as several conventionally-grown options. Each comes packed in an attractive metal tin, perfect for the tea-lovers in your life. shop teas
A Mayway exclusive! Celebrate the power of Yin Chiao with this cheeky tshirt designed by one of the owners of Mayway. A must-have for herb fans and TCM aficionados. shop shirts
A dish on the front desk, a tin in the stocking, who can resist candy? We have 5 kinds of ginger chews, haw flakes, and beautiful tins of herbal candy in tangerine lemon, apple longan, ume plum, super mint and original. shop treats
The Gift of Health
Another thoughtful gift is a care package of commonly used formulas! Build your own kit to support your friends and family's health!
Travel kit: Curing Pills, An Mien Pian, Yin Chiao, Free & Easy Wanderer
First Aid kit: Great Mender, Great Corydalis, Tian Qi, Hua She Jie Yang Wan
Winter Wellness kit: Gan Mao Ling, Astragalus capsules, Clean Air
Explore our website for a selection of other gift-worthy products including shopping bags, loofah sponges, herb pots and more!
5 TCM podcasts you need to hear now
Author: Katie Stoyka, June 16, 2016
Listen to Lonny Jarret speak about communication in your bathtub or get practice management tips from Lorne Brown on your commute. Podcasts offer bite-sized interviews and explorations that can be enjoyed anytime and anywhere. The best part? They’re free!
Podcasts cover a range of topics within the TCM field, with some having a specific focus and others bouncing around a bit. We’ve given summaries of 5 podcasts we think are worth listening to below.
If you’re new to podcasts, you can listen online via the internet (streaming), or you can download the podcast so you can listen later without an internet connection. You can start and stop listening, according to your schedule. When you find one you like, you can subscribe to it so new episodes download automatically to your device with a “podcatcher” like iTunes, or Stitcher.
This 2-year-old podcast is hosted by acupuncturists Travis Spire-Sweet and Chris Powell, who have a clear interest in the intersection of science and acupuncture. Recent shows have covered the use of acupuncture needles in NASA robot research, and optimizing IVF outcomes with the use of traditional Chinese medicine.
Host Michael Max has found that experience is the best road to understanding, and his guests share wisdom gained through practice. Subjects of recent episodes include acupuncture as part of integrated treatment in an emergency room, and stillness within qi gong practice.
These podcasts can qualify for professional development hours, but so far only in Australia. Clare Pyers and Phi Gitsham reach out to practitioners, creating a feeling of community with 30-minute weekly episodes where they 'talk shop' about issues and ideas with practitioners and invite listeners to chime in via Facebook. Five element diagnosis and shen disharmony were recent discussions.
In one of the more targeted podcasts, Chad Bong explores acupuncture in sports medicine, covering history, integrative care and innovations. Celebrity guests have included a pro cycling team acupuncturist, a pain management specialist and a sports medicine acupuncture pioneer.
What does it mean to be a successful acupuncturist? Host AJ Adamczyk asks guests how they have overcome obstacles and found their niche in acupuncture, looking at practice management, non-traditional marketing strategies and specialized treatments in recent interviews.
We hope you enjoy listening to these shows and encourage you to share your favorites on our Facebook page!
Earth Day—Big and little ways Mayway contributes to a better environment
Author: Yvonne Lau, April 19, 2016
Our products travel almost half way around the Earth to get to you, and we are always conscious of this fact. We are mindful of not wasting, being efficient, and using as little packaging and packing materials as possible. We proudly make our products in China for many reasons—they are made as bona fide medicines that are used in hospitals and clinics, the herbs used are geo-authentic, effective and fresher (for example, the huang qi, dang gui, and dang shen used in our Plum Flower®, Bamboo Pharmacy®, and Min Shan® teapills are from our manufacturer’s own farm), and by making them there we actually leave a smaller carbon footprint.
Our manufacturers waste as little as possible, composting or using as animal feed hundreds of tons of herb dregs each year.
The farmers we work with take great pride in being responsible stewards of their land and engage in all manner of sustainable farming practices, including weeding by hand, rotating crops seasonally or annually, and inter-cropping, whereby different crops are planted amongst each other in the same field to produce shade, deter pests, and extract and add different nutrients to the soil when it’s turned or allowed to lie fallow.
We work with them to reduce their use of pesticides and to choose safer, better biodegradable ones when they need to use them to save their crops. Also, because Mayway was the first to specialize in providing unsulfured herbs just over twenty years ago, we shook up the industry by mandating that the farmers and suppliers of our herbs not fumigate herbs with sulfur dioxide. Even then, we saw that sulfuring was harmful to herb quality and the environment. Sulfur dioxide fumigation has been shown to change the cellular and chemical structure of the fumigated product, harm the lungs of workers doing the sulfuring, and contributes to acid rain.
Here at Mayway’s headquarters in the U.S., we support environmental awareness internally by always adhering to the standards of being a certified Green Business, recycling and using only reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable packing materials, and generally generating as little trash as possible. We keep our solar panels clean to maximize the amount of energy we create. We consolidate shipments to minimize the space and fuel used in ocean shipping.We believe that respect for the Earth begins internally and locally, so in honor of Earth Day, for the week of April 18-22 we will donate a percentage of sales to a local urban farm "City Slicker's Farm" here in our own West Oakland neighborhood, where they also honor the locavore model, distributing fresh produce at its most nutritious to the community nearby.
Lau Family Recipe: Bai Mu Er Tang
Author: Eva Lau, February 18, 2016
This Chinese sweet herbal soup with eggs is a New Year tradition at the home of Mayway’s founders, where it’s most often served on Renri, the 7th day of the New Year. The ingredients are special not only because of their wonderful flavors. They have medicinal benefits useful for supporting the respiratory and digestive systems, and each ingredient also carries an auspicious meaning. Good health and good fortune all in one bowl! Serve it any time during the first 2 weeks of the New Year, or whenever you need it.
Herbal ingredients in this recipe, like Bai Mu Er (white fungus) work together with Hong Zao (red dates), Bai He (lily bulb) and Lian Zi (lotus seeds) to support the Yin and nourish the Lungs, Spleen and Stomach. Bai Mu Er is prized for its ability to provide essential Yin and Body Fluids for Lung Yin deficiency. This soup also moistens the intestines to relieve occasional constipation, as well as calming the Shen to calm occasional emotional upset and troubled sleep.
Good fortune awaits you, with auspicious meanings swirling together to create a soup full of good luck. Each ingredient has a symbolic meaning based on its appearance or the sound of its name in Chinese:
White fungus: looks like clouds and symbolizes good luck
Red dates: red symbolizes happiness and good fortune and zao sounds similar to the word for early
Lily bulb: bai he sounds like the words for things coming together
Lotus seeds: lian zi sounds like the words for many sons
Eggs: symbol of life
Makes 3-4 servings
- 3-4 whole hard-boiled eggs (1 per serving)
- 4 cups cold water
- 1 oz. red dates (hong zao)
- 1.5 oz. lily bulb (bai he)
- 1 oz. lotus seed (lian zi)
- 1 ball white fungus (bai mu er)
- 4 oz. rock or cane sugar
Soak white fungus in water until softened (approx. 15 min.). Meanwhile, put the lotus seeds, red dates and lily bulbs into a 2-quart pot with 4 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
When the white fungus is softened, remove and discard the hard center. Using your hands, break the edible part of the fungus into bite-sized pieces.
When the other herbs have simmered for an hour, add the white fungus, whole hard-boiled eggs and sugar. Simmer together for 15 minutes. Serve the soup, making sure everyone gets the full range of ingredients (and their healthy lucky benefits!).
Field Journal - A Trip to Chinese Medicine City
Author: Yvonne Lau, November 29, 2015
Friends often ask me about my travels to China, expecting tales of both harrowing roadside outhouses and supremely sublime food. I have visited China at least once per year sine 1982 and I realize many of my experiences may serve to offer a better understanding of the Chinese herb industry to our customers in America.
Earlier this month, I visited the city of Bozhou, in Anhui province. Bozhou is home to arguably the largest Chinese herb market in the world. The purported birthplace of the famous physician Hua Tuo, Bozhou is estimated to have over 1 million mu (almost 165,000 acres) of herb cultivation, and has 1 million people engaged in the planting, processing, or distribution of herbs. One major feature of Bozhou is its impressive herb trading complex. Officially the Kang Mei Chinese Medicine City (Kang Mei is a publicly traded company and the largest supplier of raw herbs to China’s hospitals), the complex is a sprawling 35,000 square meters (about six-and-a-half football fields), and contains over 1000 herb shops and 6000 stalls. There are zones for regular herbs and for more precious, expensive herbs, and an entire floor akin to a farmers market. Although we rarely purchase from herb trading centers, preferring to deal directly with farmers whenever possible, it’s always fun to visit.
I was there with our Mayway Hebei partner, Mr. Wang, and our head herb master/buyer, Mr. Zhang. (Mayway Hebei is our joint-venture raw herb processing facility.) Mr. Zhang travels for more than 300 days out of the year, meeting with herb dealers, visiting farmers to inspect crops, and generally collecting industry news. It was a special treat for me to watch Mr. Zhang in action at the herb market. His discerning eyes spotted the fakes, the aesthetically “enhanced”, and the overly processed. As he does in the field, at the herb market Mr. Zhang measures quality using true organoleptic means—sight, taste, and smell. He could not only identify all the herbs, processed or not, but could tell the quality and freshness purely by smell, and sometimes threw in a good lick or nibble to establish a fair price!
On the bottom floor of the central trading building was a true “farmers market” for herbs. There were hundreds of small metal lockers about the size of a Postal Service mail dropbox, each of which four farming families might rent together. They will arrive at 6 am to display their herbs, which are samples of what has been harvested or is about to be harvested from their own fields. These are herbs often grown on a couple of acres or less, mostly yielding only a few hundred pounds of fresh herbs. Buyers will inspect, smell, taste, and haggle, and if a deal is made, the farmer often leaves. Unlike the other more permanent herb stalls in the complex, this “farmers market” closes around noon, at which time there is a flurry of activity and slamming lockers (the place was deserted within
15 minutes) when the farmers rush home for lunch and to process orders, often straight from their fields.
While the herb market was a lot of fun and eye-opening, my favorite part of travelling in China (and most anywhere) is meeting new people and learning about their lives. On this visit I met quite a few “herb people” of varying backgrounds, and witnessed much of the impressive entrepreneurial spirit in Bozhou.
One of Mr. Zhang’s local friends is Ms. Wang Pan Pan. Pan Pan is 30, the eldest of her siblings, and has been working with herbs her entire life. She is a 5th generation herb farmer in Bozhou, and cultivates a small farm owned jointly by her entire family. In Bozhou, up until about 10 years ago, land reform allowed Bozhou citizens from farming backgrounds to be entitled to a few acres each of farmland. Pan Pan’s family consolidated their land, and she works it all with her parents, siblings, and in-laws. They share a locker in the farmer’s market, and Pan Pan or one of her siblings is there every morning. Most herbs on their farm had already been harvested, but Pan Pan took us to see their small plot of Ju Hua, for which Bozhou is famous for.
Another of Mr. Zhang’s friends, and also one of our suppliers, is Mr. Xu Xiao Hu. A young entrepreneur, Mr. Xu is only 28, but already a multi-millionaire. Like Pan Pan, Mr. Xu also came from an herb farming family, but decided he didn’t want to farm. Beginning in his teens, he went on buying trips with older relatives to Vietnam and Cambodia to buy Huang Jing to resell in China. Now Mr. Xu goes to Southeast Asia every other month, and currently trades in over 10,000 metric tons (22,000 pounds!) of Huang Jing annually.
We also met Mr. Wu Jun, who was drying Bai Shao on the side of the road. Mr. Wu has a Bai Shao processing service, which he graciously took us to see. The peony is Bozhou’s city flower, and Bai Shao is one of its major crops. Previously, Bai Shao was hand peeled, but Mr. Wu’s little business has mechanized it, and the small operation showed major ingenuity. On a cleared field on his farm, Mr. Wu had built something reminiscent of a 6 foot wide concrete kiddie pool, but which had a wood-burning furnace underneath complete with chimney on the opposite end. There were also three large rotating drums. Mr. Wu’s workers would empty sacks of fresh Bai Shao roots into the pool, which was filled with water and bubbling because of the furnace. The Bai Shao was cooked a bit to loosen the peel. After about 10 minutes, pitchforks were used to scoop out the Bai Shao and toss it into the drums. A shovelful of gravel was added to help slough off the peels. As the drum spun, well water from a large hose was used to wash away the peels, and after about 15 minutes, bright-white peeled Bai Shao was transferred to Mr. Wu’s little blue pick-up truck to be taken for sulfuring and drying.
In stark contrast to Mr. Wu’s enterprise was the Du Family’s. We happened upon them as we were driving down a small lane in a more rural neighborhood of Bozhou. The young Mr. and Mrs. Du and his mother were sitting around a battered coffee table in the doorway of what looked like a small concrete warehouse, but which was actually also their home. They were processing fresh Peony roots into Mu Dan Pi. A large pile of roots were being hand scraped with what looked like large shards of broken glass. Later, each root would be cored, then sliced and dried. We chatted as they worked, and I learned that these long roots, ranging in thickness from that of a pencil to about that of my thumb, had finally been harvested after 6 years. The Dus were in the process of scraping a little over 500 kilos (1100 pounds) and once cored and dried, would be about 250 kilos of Mu Dan Pi. They hoped to get about 5000-6000 Renminbi ($800-$1000) for their crop. I was struck by the fact that as an investment, they would essentially be making $166 per year, not taking into account their hundreds of hours of labor. The American in me gawked at that. The Dus, however, seemed very content and joked and laughed as they were working. What I realized about these gracious people, from Pan Pan to the Dus, is that each one was optimistic and full of purpose. I appreciated and was humbled by their entrepreneurial spirit, their authenticity, and their obvious pride and satisfaction with their work. Although we operate and make our products at a much higher level, I felt a kinship with these new friends in Bozhou. No matter the level or the resources, they and I, and all the hardworking people I work with whether in China or here at Mayway, are doing work we believe in.